Love love love.
I ALSO love to find the perfect gift for others around this time of the year. It always gives me the warm fuzzies to give something that I know people love. If I can get the recipient crying, even better.
Years ago I can remeber my stepmom having a bottle of homemade vanilla extract and though it was the neatest thing. With the holidays quickly approaching I have been trying to figure out gifts and thought I would give some homemade vanilla extract bottles a shot.
For this, you need three things.
I used a mid-grade vodka. Remember, you won't be drinking this. Well, you COULD, but I wouldn't recommend it.
Vanilla beans. I got "B Grade" beans. I paid roughly $20 for 1/4 lb off Amazon.
The glass bottle. You want an air tight bottle. Again, I got mine off Amazon. I did see they had some at Hobby Lobby that work as well.
To make 8oz of vanilla:
Cut 4 beans in half length wise.
Take those 8 pieces and with a sharp knife, Slit the bean in half length wise. It will end up looking like a wishbone.
Put them in the bottle.
Pour 8oz of vodka over the beans. Make sure the beans are submerged.
Close bottle and shake.
Keep in a cool, dark place.
Every day: Shake Shake Shake. Shake Shake Shake. Shake your vanilla! Shake your vanilla!
Do this for about 2 months. At this point, you are good to go! Get your bake on! Feel free to take out the beans. The longer they remain in, the deeper the flavor. Same thing with the amount of beans. Want a stronger flavor, add more.
They say the vanilla beans are "used up" after about 6 months. If they aren't already out, take the beans out. You can replace with more and fill it up again!
If at any point you use enough extract that the beans aren't submerged, add more vodka to the bottle!